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and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now, therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.'
In the close of the prayer which we have considered, there are four of the natural perfections of Jehovah devoutly adored. These are his sovereignty—“ for thine is the kingdom;" his might—" for thine
the power;" his supreme majesty—“ for thine is the glory;" and his immutability-“ for ever.” And having made these acknowledgments, we are to add our cordial “ Amen,” as expressive, not of assent only, but of a sincere and ardent desire, that the confessions we utter may be received, the intercessions we offer granted, and the mercies we implore plentifully bestowed. This celebration of the divine perfections in concluding our supplications is highly proper, inasmuch as they supply the reason why we apply to Him for a blessing; and might be considered as our plea at the divine footstool, on which we rest our authority to pray, and our confidence in his goodness to give what we desire, as far as the donation would be promotive of His glory and our welfare. And it is therefore to say, " These things we know that thou canst do for thy children, and we are humbly bold to hope thou wilt do them for us; for thine is the kingdom of universal nature, the fulness of almighty power, and the glory of infinite perfection, and to thee be the praise of all ascribed for ever. Amen. So may it be! We most sincerely and earnestly desire, that thou mayest be glorified, and our petitions heard and accepted.”+
And now from the subject of the present lecture, let us
1 Chron. xxix. 10–13.
+ Dr. Doddridge.
distinctly remember two things. The first is, the necessity of circumspection as well as prayer.
When our Lord addressed the disciples who were “ heavy with sleep” in the garden of Gethsemane, on the most memorable night which the page of history ever mentioned, it was in this wise: “ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Great is the danger to which we are exposed, and vigilant are the enemies that would rejoice in our fall, it therefore becomes us to “ set a watch," as well as make our prayer. It is the utmost height of presumption, to pray against the enticements of sinners, and immediately go and “ stand in their way,” and associate with “ the scornful.” And yet I fear many are guilty of this egregious impiety. They pray against temptation, and then put themselves in its seat! In the mouth of such persons the supplication is deliberate mockery—unqualified absurdity. The very request that He would not abandon you to temptation, becomes a solemn pledge on your part that you will not unnecessarily expose yourselves to its power. My dear brethren, and my young friends in particular, let me repeat the admonition already given, to make instant and vigorous resistance to the first indication of evil that presents itself to your mind or your eye. Remember, one single compliance may involve you
in consequences of irretrievable disgrace and misery. Habits insensibly formed become a species of second nature: and the “evil communications” of persons with whom you improperly associate may be fatally impressed upon you; and then, like the enfettered slave, you may awake to a sense of your misery, only to weep over the iron bonds that enchain you, and to make a fruitless and dying struggle for freedom.
* Matt. xxvi. 41.
Secondly. The subject exhibits the final residence of the believer, in a pleasing point of view. We read, indeed, of that blissful state," that nothing impure shall ever enter there." It could not live in so holy a region. However it may please the “Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation,” to comfort us now with the smile of his love, and to answer our humble prayers, for the sanctification of our natures; there are still certain blessings which we must die to enjoy in the plentitude of their perfection—and purity is one of these. How delightful the prospect of heaven! not only because of its eternal pleasures, but also its unsullied holiness. Indeed, there can be no real peace apart from purity, or satisfaction apart from conformity to God. But these ingredients of felicity we shall realize, should we be so distinguished by sovereign goodness as to reach that land of victory and bliss! Here, we lament the dwelling of sin within us; there, we shall be delivered from every adversary and evil. Here, we are assaulted .by dangerous foes, by the powers of darkness, and a deceitful heart; there, every avenue of temptation will be closed; every enemy of our enjoyment slain; and one pure, eternal, and unmingled stream of delight, shall refresh our spirit, in the presence of God and the Lamb. Let nothing divert our feet from the earnest and unwearied pursuit of such supreme felicity.
Such is the view we have taken of this divine form of prayer. It had been easy to have extended our meditations upon it to many more discourses, if it had been accordant with the plan we pursue. But enough has been delivered to show you your duty. Be it your constant concern, my brethren, to “pray in the spirit, and with the understanding also.” I fear, however, many of you will still live without prayer, and despise the high privilege to which you have been invited.
have been invited. I call on you, therefore, to remember what you have heard, and hold it fast. I charge it on you, as the heads of families, parents, tradesmen, and, above all, as dying creatures, to pray in secret, and with your households. But remember, prayer is only a means to an end, and neither the frequency or the fervour of your supplications will supercede the necessity of “ the mercy of God unto eternal life.”
“ Not in mine innocence I trust,
I bow before thee in the dust;
I look for mercy at thy throne.”
“ Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”
. 1 Tim. i. 17.
MATTHEW vi. 14, 15.
“ FOR IF YE FORGIVE MEN THEIR TRESPASSES, YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL ALSO FORGIVE YOU : BUT IF YE FORGIVE NOT MEN THEIR TRESPASSES, NEITHER WILL YOUR FATHER FORGIVE YOUR TRESPASSES.”
THESE words refer us back to the twelfth verse of this chapter, where our Lord bids us pray in this wise: “ Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors :” thus making the exercise of forgiveness towards others a kind of condition on which we are to ask for it ourselves at the hand of God. There are two reasons for the repetition of this duty. The first is, the novelty of the injunction ; and the second, the vast importance of its exemplification. It has been observed by writers on the subject, that the language of the Lord's Prayer is wholly gathered from the forms of devotion which the Jews used in the synagogues, with the exception of the fifth petition. As the sentiment which this expresses was altogether new, it required particular illustration and enforcement. Having, therefore, finished the prayer, the Divine Teacher stops for a moment to show its vast importance in the matter of salvation. This was the more necessary, inasmuch as the duty of forgiving